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To save a girl child

To save a girl child

I made this picture a couple of days back and I thought this would be a good place to share it.

According to the current census, male to female ratio is 1000 to 940 in India.

One of the reasons for this is Female infanticide (the deliberate killing of girl babies). As horrifying as it sounds in the 21st century, this is still practiced in India. India is a male dominated society. Boys are considered to be the bread-winners of the family. They are expected to take care of their parents in their old age. A girl on the other hand, brings nothing but expenses. Traditionally, weddings in India are done by the girl's family and it costs a lot of money(add dowry to this - the cost of buying a husband and the expenses sky-rocket). Once the girl is married, she belongs to the new family. No financial support can be expected from her for her ageing parents. A middle class family can barely afford these expenses, let alone a poor family. If young girls are educated more, they will go out and find jobs. They wont be financially dependent on the father and then on the husband. They won't be viewed as a burden. More girls go to work now. But changing the mindset of an entire country is not an easy task. In a country as old as India, wanting a boy baby is seeped in our tradition. Even families with money, families where the women are well-educated want boy babies because they have been brought up to want it. How do we change the mindset ? The only answer I can think of is to get people talking. People aren't inherently bad. Sometimes all it takes is for us to see the other side of things to figure out that a certain tradition is outdated. This is why I like making pictures that revolve around social issues. In the hope that someday, somewhere, one person would look at it and change their mind about what they want.

This story was written for World Pulse’s Ending Violence Against Women Digital Action Campaign.

World Pulse believes that women's stories, recommendations, and collective rising leadership can—and will—bring an end to gender-based violence. The EVAW Campaign elicits powerful content from women on the ground, strengthens their confidence as vocal grassroots leaders, and ensures that influencers and powerful institutions hear their stories.
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Tracy Partridge-Johnson's picture

Your Photo Is Beautiful!

Hi Mya,

I am also in Portland, Oregon! (Well, Beaverton, actually) and I am brand new to this site. I was just exploring around tonight and came across your photo (which I downloaded) and your journal entry. I was completely enthralled in your story and am astonished to find that this is still the case in India, even today!

Your photo/art is a gorgeous depiction of your words.

Thank you so much for sharing your gift!

Blessings to you,

Tracy

myaphotography's picture

Thanks Tracy :)

Thanks Tracy :)

Wendyiscalm's picture

The picture is beautiful

Hi Mya,

The picture you made is wonderful by itself. With the story it is very very special and really gives attention to the need for change and the sadness of the conditions.
Keep up the great work.

Ubuntu (I am who I am because of who we are together)

Wendy Stebbins

Wendy Stebbins
Founder/CEO
I AM ONE IN A MILLION Non-Profit Organization focused on helping street orphans and vulnerable children in Livingstone, Zambia Africa.

Rebecca Tomac's picture

Heartbreaking

Nothing is more dangerous than "group mindset". It only takes ONE voice to stand up and say..."THIS IS NOT OK". Usually there are ten more in the crowd who feel the same but are unable to stand up first. A picture like this is a perfect example of the first person to stand up. BRAVO! Beautiful art with an URGENT message.

Rebecca

binapatel33's picture

To save a girl child

I agree, the message our community sets out as Indians is very difficult. Unfortunately, it continues here in the U.S. Although families think in a more "modern" perspective the girl's side of the family still pays for most of the cost. As an Indian girl getting married, I completely understand what you are saying. I only hope that we as women can stand together and change the mentality of our future husband's side of the family. We have to remain strong and supportive to each other. We have to stay strong because we are only asking for what is considered "fair" and that the wedding should be split 50/50. But I can tell you this, it's not just in the Indian culture that this occurs, it occurs in many other cultures. So in general we women have to stand together and fight for what is "fair"..... thank you for sharing your story! I admire your strength. The picture is beautiful and sends so many messages.

How can you help? Well you can create a small group. Tell all your female friends or all the females in your community that you want to create a club and every week you meet or do a get together. Discuss how you can fight for your rights. If you hear that someone is getting married in your community, make sure to show your support for the woman getting married. I think the first step is to begin a small "girl's club" and then reach out to the community to see how you can help women. I hope this help. Please keep me posted.

Kind Regards,
Bina Patel
hc Mediate, LLC
www.hcmediate.com

Rebecca Tomac's picture

Great Advice!

And also remember; we are not only women, but future mothers. We may not be able to change the mindset of our parents, but we can TRY to change the mindsets in our generation, and we can SURELY change the mindset of our children, the NEXT generation. It's easy to look at a current situation as hopeless, sometimes it takes patience and dedication.

myaphotography's picture

Thanks for the feedback guys

Thanks for the feedback guys :)

sarahrubin's picture

Art and expression

Thank you for sharing your picture and clearly articulating this significant issue. I share your passion for getting people to talk. It is so important to create safe spaces where people can gather to share their stories and ideas. I love others' suggestions to create a club for young girls to educate and provide them with strategies and resources. As you said this type of change takes a long time, so creating support systems is the best thing we can do for one another.

binapatel33's picture

Great Advice

Thank you!! I agree for long term purposes it is worth changing the mindset. But we as women need to be brave and defend ourselves. For example, I am Indian (from India) and at times I have a mother in law who behaves very traditional. So I have learned to put my foot down, speak up and defend myself. I did it a few times, even gave her the silent treatment and now she thinks twice before she says anything. Remember we are not here to take any sort of ill treatment from anyone. Be strong and defend yourself! :) Wjhy did I do this? Well I wanted to change the traditional mindset and teach them that no girl in our generation will put up with anyone's ill treatment. And I would ask her, how do you feel if I said something like that to you? How did you feel when you were ill treated, did you like it? I was able to make her think and realize that when she didn't like someone mistreating her, how can she expect me to like it? So you have to bring them to your shoes. But it will not happen over time, it will take time. The key is to remember to remain strong, be confident, and defend yourself. We can never be afraid!

Kind Regards,
Bina Patel
hc Mediate, LLC
www.hcmediate.com

myaphotography's picture

courage

Bina,

It takes courage to stand up like that. Not many girls with conservative mother in laws can do that. It is wonderful that you stood up for what you believed in and improved the situation for yourself. I think most girls take it because they don't want to cause issues in the family. In most families, the girl's mother says - "Just put up with it". Not because the mother doesn't love her daughter. But, because the mother doesn't want her daughter to face further retribution. It is also wonderful that your mother in law was willing to listen to you.

binapatel33's picture

Courage

Hi there- yes I agree. My mother tells me to also "just put up with it" to avoid any problems. And I know that most of the time, my mother in law lies and makes things up. It is hard to be an indian daughter in law, trust me. I barely talk to mine. I guess what is hard is if husbands do not stand up for their wives. If the husbands stand up for their wives, then the mother in laws would back off. I am sure this is not the case in India. We face many similar issues in the US as well. I think the mother in laws forget how they were treated and how it felt. I am very blessed that my soon to be husband stands up with me. My mother in law is actually afraid of her son-so she is very careful now what she says to me. I don't get involved at all in their family issues, I just keep quiet. It's been tough but I have learned to manager my mother in law after 6 years. Lots of tears and pain but I pray so hard.

Happy Navaratri! I hope you get a chance to celebrate it!

Kind Regards,
Bina Patel
hc Mediate, LLC
www.hcmediate.com

Anita Muhanguzi's picture

Thanks for the picture

Thank you so much for this picture. I total agree with you that it is the mindset of people that we have to change. It is the society that we live in that make us think in a certain way. The more we bring out these issues and the solutions to the various problems the more people will be more educated and eventually we shall get change. Stay blessed

Mrs. Anita Kiddu Muhanguzi
Head of Legal and Advocacy
Centre for Batwa Minorities
a.kiddu@gmail.com
cfmlegal@gmail.com
Skype: mrs_muhanguzi

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